The primary way that undergraduate students becoming involved in research is through working with a faculty/staff mentor on a faculty initiated research or creative project.
Almost all undergraduate research and creative experiences require students to have a faculty mentor. As you explore the world of research, your mentor will guide your work, help you to shape your writing, introduce you to speaking about and presenting your work in professional conferences or publication outlets , and offer support.
A mentor is also responsible for ensuring that you comply with Federal and University regulations involving safety practices (for all laboratory work) and ethical conduct, particularly when human or animal subjects are involved in your work.
Students work with faculty members on guided research and often join the lab or research group of their faculty mentor. This allows students to build a strong network of professional and peer connections. Some mentoring relationships are part of structured programs that have specific expectations and guidelines, while others are more informal.
Your faculty mentor is the most important connection between you and the University’s research community, so it is vital that both your advisor and you are willing to enter into the mentor-mentee relationship. Countless UI faculty serve as mentors for undergraduate research projects each year. Your mentor choice is a very important decision that should be based on your research intentions, communication manner, and learning style. Good mentors become important advocates for you and friends to you throughout your research experience.
Tips for Working with Mentors